Is Jesse Eisenberg Miscast as Lex Luthor?

A picture has turned up of Jesse Eisenberg, who’s going to be playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and he looks pretty “meh.”

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

The main problem is that Luthor has traditionally been cast by actors like Gene Hackman (who played the character in 1978’s Superman) and Kevin Spacey (who played him in 2006’s Superman Returns) and I think there’s a very good reason that older, more experienced actors were cast.

Namely they bring a level of experience, of gravitas and maturity that Eisenberg doesn’t have, mainly because it comes with age.

And traditionally it’s not something that you can act your way around.

Eisenberg is a smart and capable actor, but he doesn’t look like Lex Luthor to me.  in my mind’s eye I can already see him running about, like a bald version of the character he played in 2010’s The Social Network and know that whomever that chararcter is, it won’t be Lex Luthor.

By the way, does Zach Snyder have something against older people?  The reason I ask is that most of his films–casting wise–seem to skew toward attractive, relatively speaking, younger people.

Help Us, Guillermo Del Toro, You’re Our Only Hope!

And in case you don’t get the reference…

And you should know that I don’t take to paraphrasing Princess Leia lightly, though I think that it’s warranted in this particular case.

Call Girl Of Cthulhu trailer

The point being, I have just seen the trailer for Call Girl of Cthulhu and it looks to be in the vein of movies like Re-Animator and From Beyond, by which I mean the gory, gooey stuff is mixed with liberal doses of humor and/or camp, though I am not implying either of them aren’t entertaining and gory-good fun.

Though what they lack is a sense of the majestic, the feeling that they what we see on screen is only the tip of the iceberg and that the horrors out there in the vastness of space are way more horrific than we can even contemplate.  It’s present in Lovecraft’s writing–and especially in August Dereth’s–though no movie has dealt with the more cosmic aspects of his writing–though John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness, has been the closest.

As far as the other movies go, there’s a certain tawdriness that’s not touched on in any of his writing that I have read–be they written by Lovecraft or not.

At The Moutains Of Madness 1

At The Mountains Of Madness 2

Two images of Guillermo Del Toro’s (so far) aborted film of H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness

And that’s not to say that the sexiness that seems a part of Call Girl of Cthulhu isn’t present in someone’s writings, but I would at least like to see some of mysticism, the subtle horror evoked by his writings.

Which is why I plead to Guillermo del Toro to please bring At The Mountains Of Madness to the big screen because as far as I can tell no other filmmaker has the understanding of the Mythos, as well as the respect for its creator, to do it justice.

From what I have read of Del Toro’s take he intended to treat perhaps the seminal Lovecraft story with the piousness and gravitas that it deserves, and it’s about time.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: The Nun (La Monja)

The Nun movie posterLuis de la Madrid‘s 2005 ghost story The Nun (La Monja) isn’t a terrible movie by any stretch, though that’s not to imply that it’s particularly good, because it isn’t.

Though the greater crime is that there are stirrings of greatness not too far below the surface, which are never given a chance to bloom into horrific life.

First off, the movie shows its ghost with the most way too much, though I think I understand why.

Whenever the ghost appears it’s accompanied by an interesting visual effect: water flowing backward and in slow motion, filling the air like a curtain of light.  The problem is that, once you have seen the bogeyman, it–if not loses all power to frighten certainly suffers diminished potency–and you begin to see it for what it is, namely an interesting visual effect and little else.

Often, particularly in the case of horror films which by their very nature depend upon the suspension of belief, less is more.  If the film had–instead of showing their monster at seemingly every available opportunity–had instead showed some restraint, the movie would have benefitted immensely.

Continue reading

The Fifty Shades of Gray Phenomenon

I have no intention of seeing Fifty Shades of Gray, mainly because it’s not my kind of movie.  Besides, if I were going to watch S&M I’d rather not watch the Lifetime version of it.

Though what I find interesting is how well received the film has been, and that director Sam Taylor-Johnson is returning to direct the sequel, despite the difficulties she experience the first time around.

That being said, clearly there are millions of people who feel different because so far the movie has earned almost $500 million (the bulk of which, over $400 million, was from overseas.  It’s an important distinction because it implies that attitudes about sexuality in movies (and probably in general) are different in places like Europe and Latin America than they are domestically.

Another interesting thing is that–unlike most movie studios–Universal seems to be doing remarkably well with a strategy built around low-budget features, as opposed to other studios, which are built around expensive and massive tentpoles.

Though Universal’s strategy creates maximum profit at minimal cost, which is pretty remarkable.

Very generally speaking, movies that put sexuality forward tend to do better overseas than here.  Conversely, films that are action-heavy tend to do better here than they do in other countries.

Postmortem: Robocop (2014)

RoboCopI caught the reboot of Robocop in theaters, and recall at the time thinking that it was a bit weak, especially compared to the original film. That being said, having watched it again my first impression was confirmed, namely that it’s not as as engaging or as fun as the1987 Paul Verhoeven movie.  And speaking of Verhoeven’s film, a lot of the credit goes to its rating, which was a well-deserved R. While Robocop’s most recent build is PG-13, which means that it can’t be seen by anyone under 13 years of age without a parent or guardian. So it should go without saying that none of the delightfully gratuitous violence that graced the original will be anywhere near the reboot. And it suffers for it, though it also lacks the gonzo tone of the first movie.  Luckily, some of the central themes (the privatization of public utilities, such as the police, where the man begins, and machine ends, etc) remain intact, though often not quite as clearly defined as in the first movie (the heads of Omnicorp–as opposed to Omni Consumer Products in the original–in the reboot aren’t necessarily evil more than greedy, while their counterparts in the original film gave the phrase ‘severance package’ an entirely new meaning). That being said, the reboot does have some advantages that the first film doesn’t.

One being that the reboot looks more cinematic, somehow bigger and more ambitious–considering that the original cost $13 million to produce, while the reboot cost $100 million, it aught to look better (even in 1980’s dollars).  Considering how attractive the movie is, it looks like money well-spent.  It also takes advantage of the latest in CGI and motion capture technologies, techniques which weren’t available when the original film was made. Another thing is that the chemistry between the main actors is significantly better this time around.  In reference to the original the relationship between Murphy (Peter Weller) and Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) was serviceable, but never particularly convincing, while that between 2014’s Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and Jack Lewis (Michael B. Williams) has much more in the way of camaraderie and comfort with each other, which is apparent on screen.

So if you go into Robocop (2014) and expecting the excesses of the original film–as I did when I first saw it–you’re going to be Robocop (1987)disappointed because there’re not too many directors that can beat Paul Verhoeven when it comes to over-the-top, subversive filmmaking. But if you haven’t seen the original film then José Padilha’s more conservative interpretation is actually pretty enjoyable. Robocop (1984) is currenty on Netflix

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – Trailer 2

At first glance, I could easily understand why someone might think that Steve Pink‘s original Hot Tub Time Machine didn’t do well enough to warrant a sequel, having earned almost $65 million (on a $36 million budget).

But that would be ignoring a very significant point, namely that the movie was rated R, which means that its audience was limited to adults and couldn’t be attended by anyone under 17 without a parent or guardian.

So, when you look at it from that perspective, $65 million is a pretty decent outing.

The sequel looks to be as preposterous as the original, as Jacob, Nick and Lou have to once again use their hot tub time machine to save the day.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E – Official Trailer 1

While growing up, while I was aware of Napoleon Solo (otherwise known as The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and Illya Kuryakin (originally played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum in the television series), though I didn’t watch it, being instead a huge fan of The Avengers and Department S.

There’s already been a remake of The Avengers, and while the original series was so awesome I hope it’s revisited once again, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

The Avengers – Original series

I would post the trailer for the reboot of the British television series, except that it’s surprisingly difficult to find.  I mean, it was a pretty mediocre movie, but I didn’t think that it was so bad that the Internet would reject it.

As far as I know, no one has rebooted Department S, which is a pity because Johnny Depp, with his penchant for odd mustaches and the like, would be perfect as Jason King (Peter Wyngarde, who’s life is interesting enough to warrant a movie of its own).

That being said, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is being rebooted via Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows) and it looks interesting despite the fact that the initial car chase brought back somewhat unwelcome memories of Speed Racer.